With appreciation for the work of Leo Tanugama

What is our choice?
Blog by Jill Dianne

Through good fortune I was privileged to enjoy the artwork of Leo Tanugama on the four giant murals gracing the walls in the Denver Airport for many a year. Unfortunately, the intricate and intense murals have now been painted over. There are many perspectives on why they were there in the first place, and why they were then covered up. Here, all I will do is simply offer a perspective of their influence upon me, compelling me to take these photos.

At the time of my first viewing around 2010, there were four large walls filled to the edges with vivid color and clear message. Two were of the “bad news.” Two were ofthe “good news.”Both sets were designed to point to us the clear choice that present day society is in the midst of making.

One one hand, the dove of peace was dying at the end of the blade of a darkened soldier, faceless behind his gas mask. The long line of refugees, a child sleeping on bricks and a row of grieving parents with dead children in their arms. Leo Tanugama gives an brutally honest artistic view into the horrors of war.

On the companion panel to this scene was the vision of the polar opposite. Joyful are the children’s faces as they bring the swords, wrapped in the flags of the nations, and cooperatively beat them into plowshares.
The doves of peace happily watch by the side.

The dichotomy of a fundamental choice at hand is again represented in the other two panels of his work, this time in our relationship to nature.

We are shown the vitality of life and health in harmony with human beings as the stewards of this planet. Or, we are shown the destruction, fire, poison and death that are its polar opposite. It’s difficult to capture the immensity of the message that came
through the two sharply huge contrasting views, and here I do not choose to focus on the disturbing vision of death and destruction.

The essence of the second artwork is beautiful to behold: vibrancy of life, joyful faces, radiant health of nature and the animals. At its center is the artwork that tops this blog —the shaman child facilitating the growth of the Rainbow plant with the multicultural community watching in elation. This is the consciousness we invite today.


This is the consciousness we call forth.

Let us love our Sacred Mother Earth, our Father Sky, and all the holy life that comes of
their union, with humanity in true harmony. And so it can be.


Intro for Granddaughter’s documentary about Leo Tanugama’s artwork: Click here


Images of Leo Tanugama’s art at the Denver Airport: Click here